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Group Description

FORMED: 1981, Los Angeles, CA

The most consistently innovative metal band of the late 80s and 90s was formed in 1981 in California, USA, by Lars Ulrich (b. 26 December 1963, Copenhagen, Denmark; drums) and James Alan Hetfield (b. 3 August 1963, USA; guitar/vocals) after each separately advertised for fellow musicians in the classified section of American publication The Recycler. They recorded their first demo, No Life Til' Leather, with Lloyd Grand (guitar), who was replaced in January 1982 by David Mustaine (b. 13 September 1961, La Mesa, California, USA), whose relationship with Ulrich and Hetfield proved unsatisfactory. Jef Warner (guitar) and Ron McGovney (bass) each had a brief tenure with the band.

At the end of 1982 Clifford Lee Burton (b. 10 February 1962, USA, d. 27 September 1986; bass, ex-Trauma) joined the band, playing his first live performance on 5 March 1983. Mustaine departed to form Megadeth and was replaced by Kirk Hammett (b. 18 November 1962, San Francisco, California, USA; guitar). Hammett, who came to the attention of Ulrich and Hetfield while playing with rock band Exodus, played his first concert with Metallica on 16 April 1983. The Ulrich, Hetfield, Burton and Hammett combination endured until disaster struck the band in the small hours of 27 September 1986, when Metallica's tour bus overturned in Sweden, killing Cliff Burton. During those four years, the band put thrash metal on the map with the aggression and exuberance of their debut, Kill 'Em All, the album sleeve of which bore the legend "Bang that head that doesn't bang".

Group Information

  • 835
  • Metallica
  • Dec 21, 2005
  • English

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